Universities launch SCOTS* languages project

Issued jointly by the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh

The Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are collaborating to collate the first electronic library of the written and spoken languages of Scotland. The SCOTS (*Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech) project will cover all the languages currently used in Scotland, from Scots to Punjabi. The aim is to give a full and accurate picture of the complex linguistic situation in contemporary Scotland. The data will be available via the Internet.

Launching SCOTS, Professor Christian Kay, Glasgow project leader said: "At present there is no electronic archive specifically dedicated to the languages of Scotland and we need to preserve information on threatened languages, such as the many dialects of Scots and Gaelic, for future generations."

Henry Thompson, project leader in the University of Edinburgh's Human Communication Research Centre, adds "The technology we have developed makes it possible to store and analyse very large quantities of text in ways which would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. It's very satisfying to have the opportunity to apply these sophisticated techniques to SCOTS."

Initially the focus will be on the collection of Scottish-English and Scots texts, but it is also planned to include Gaelic and material from non-indigenous community languages such as Punjabi, Urdu and Chinese.

Further details on the SCOTS project can be seen at www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk

The project is funded by an Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council grant, awarded jointly to the Department of English Language and STELLA project, School of English and Scottish Language and Literature, University of Glasgow and the Human Communication Research Centre Technology Group, Division of Informatics, University of Edinburgh.

Media Relations Office (media@gla.ac.uk)

Members of the press are invited to the project launch on Thursday 24 January from 5-7pm in the Ferguson Room of the College Club, University of Glasgow Main Building. For further information contact: Dr Fiona Douglas, Department of English Language, University of Glasgow, 0141 330 3171, F.Douglas@englang.arts.gla.ac.uk Alternatively contact the University of Glasgow Press Office on 0141 330 3535 or the University of Edinburgh Press Office on 0131 650 2246

First published: 25 January 2002

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